The Notorious Big – Ready To Die

The album that established the late rapper's reputation

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It may not have been the greatest way to honour his memory, but Puff Daddy’s tribute to his late pal Biggie Smalls, 1997’s paper-thin “I’ll Be Missing You”, echoed the sentiments of hip hop fans worldwide. Small wonder: this, the Brooklyn hustler’s 1994 debut (which now features an accompanying DVD) highlighted his descriptive powers and economical flow, as well as his weakness for prophetic imagery. “I swear that death is fucking calling me,” runs “Suicidal Thoughts”, while the title track sees the then 21-year-old resigned to the fate that would befall him three years later. A funky, hard-nosed chronicle of a death foretold.

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Bob Dylan, Paul Weller, Marianne Faithfull, Stephen Stills, Spiritualized, Can, The Strokes, Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, James, UB40, My Bloody Valentine, the Plastic Ono Band and Sun Ra
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